"I lost all principles all morals"*: A case study analysis of the personal documents of a sexually abused adolescent female through the feminist lens of Gilligan's moral development theory

Rosemary Deborah Caolo, Fordham University

Abstract

This doctoral dissertation will present a case study of Connie, a 20 year old victim/survivor of chronic sexual and physical abuse, and draw upon Gilligan's Listening Guide (1988), a voice centered relational method of data analysis, to examine her personal documents—letters, diaries, poetry—through the interpretive lens of feminist moral development. Connie's narrative illustrates that her ability to develop and sustain psychologically healthy relationships—with family and friends alike—that are consistently caring and nurturing has been severely undercut and compromised by the “abandonment, inattentiveness and lack of responsiveness” she experienced as a child. Given the fact that Connie's relational experiences have been fractured, unpredictable and psychically destructive; she may be at a severe disadvantage in navigating future moral dilemmas she will encounter. Based on feminist research principles of relationship and collaboration, the research subject maintains an active role in the analysis process to provide her power and control in the presentation of her story as well as her in struggle for identity cohesion and moral exoneration. This study not only builds on the wealth of research that grew out of the Gilligan-Kohlberg debate on moral development and the appreciation of a unique female perspective (Brown, 1989) but also follows the overriding and connective thread present throughout all feminist theorizing—the ferreting out, recognition and elimination of the subjugation/oppression paradigm afflicting girls and women. ^ *Excerpt from Connie's journal, 2005.^

Subject Area

Social Work|Women's Studies|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Rosemary Deborah Caolo, ""I lost all principles all morals"*: A case study analysis of the personal documents of a sexually abused adolescent female through the feminist lens of Gilligan's moral development theory" (January 1, 2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3367266.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3367266

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